Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Congress Shall Make No Law
“Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government, for a redress of grievances.” The FIRST AMENDMENT to the Constitution of the United States of America.
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme Law of the Land. The rights of our country's citizens are protected by this document now, as they have been since the Revolution. it is the purpose of the President and other elected officials to see that this document is protected to the fullest. It is also the duty of the Armed Forces of the United States to see that this document is not defiled and that each citizen does have the rights guaranteed therein.
“Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech or of the press”; a student of the Constitution one does not have to be to interpret the FIRST AMENDMENT. "Congress shall make no law ". . means exactly that. It should logically follow that, since Congress is the only body capable of making law, no other group or organization shall make laws on the freedoms of speech and press. We see, however, that this is not at all the case. There is an organization in the United States that has made laws and regulations governing the freedoms of speech and press. The United States Army has done this under the guise of protecting the rights of the citizen. How is it possible for the Army to protect the rights of a citizen by disenfranchising him of these very rights?... The fact that a publication is critical - even unfairly critical - of government policies or officials is not in itself, a grounds for denial (of distribution). Subparagraph 4 goes on to say, “Mere possession of a publication may not be prohibited; however, possession of an unauthorized publication coupled with an attempt to distribute in violation of post regulations may constitute an offense. Accordingly, cases involving the possession of several copies of an unauthorized publication or other circumstances indicating an intent to distribute should be investigated.”
Freely translated; one may write and publish a paper; but as soon as one picks them up from the printer, he is then in possession of “several” with the intent to distribute and therefore in violation of Army Regulation 210-10 (para. 5-5).
Technically, under these regulations, the Army has not interfered with the freedom of the individual to express his ideas. ABOVEGROUND asks, what is the purpose of freedom of speech if other people are not permitted to listen and what is freedom of the press if people are not allowed to let others read what they have written?
Aboveground, vol. 1, no. 1